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Gov. Murphy signs immigrants’ rights legislation to strengthen workers’ rights and recognize the diversity of New Jersey

NEW JERSEY – Governor Phil Murphy recently signed a series of immigrants’ rights bills to strengthen rights of domestic workers, promote language access to government services and benefits, and accurately understand the diversity of New Jersey’s communities, building on the Murphy Administration’s commitment to building a fairer and more inclusive state for all.

“In New Jersey, our greatest strength lies in our diversity,” Murphy said. “These bills recognize that our state’s immigrant families and diverse communities enrich our cultural, social, and economic identity. I am proud to sign legislation that supports New Jerseyans in achieving the American Dream, accessing government services, and being appropriately represented in data and analytics that may inform our work.”

The Governor signed the following three bills into law:

  • S-723/A-822 (Codey/Timberlake, Jasey, Reynolds-Jackson) – Creates ‘New Jersey Domestic Workers’ Bill of Rights Act’

The New Jersey Domestic Workers’ Bill of Rights Act (S-723/A-822) establishes a broad range of rights and employment protections for domestic workers.

The legislation signed by Governor Murphy provides domestic workers with anti-discrimination and anti-harassment rights, health and safety protections, and privacy rights. It also removes the current exclusion of certain domestic workers from the New Jersey State Wage and Hour Law, requires domestic employers to enter into a written contract with the domestic worker, sets requirements regarding rest and meal break times, and requires employers to give advance notice to domestic workers prior to termination. The bill also establishes penalties for violations of its provisions, including penalties against retaliation by the employer, and requires employers to provide notice to domestic workers about their rights.

  • S-2459/ACS for A-3837 (Ruiz, Pou, Cruz-Perez/Jaffer, Park, Stanley) – Requires State government entities provide vital documents and translation services in 15 most common seven English languages.

S-2459/ACS for A-3837 requires State government entities in the Executive Branch that provide direct services to the public to translate vital documents and information, including public documents such as forms and instructions provided individuals with limited English proficiency in this State in at least the seven most common non-English languages spoken by Community Survey data, and relevant to services offered by each State government entity.

The bill takes effect immediately, but the required translations would be implemented on a rolling basis, with translations in all required languages completed no later 23 months after the effective date of the bill. In addition, the bill requires each State government entity that offers direct services to the public to development and implement a language access plan, which would include an assessment of the interpretation needs of members of the public with limited English proficiency and a plan to provide interpretation services to those who need it.

  • A-3092wGR/S2415 (Stanley, Jaffer, Mukherji/Gopal, Ruiz) – Requires State agencies update demographic data collection methods on Asian, Native Hawaiian, Pacific Islander, Middle Eastern, North African, and South Asian and Indian Diaspora residents of this State.

A-3092wGR/S2415 will require State agencies to update demographic data collection and reporting methods to better reflect the unique identity of New Jersey’s Asian American, Native Hawaiian, and Pacific Islander (AANHPI), Middle Eastern and North African (MENA), and South Asian and Indian Diaspora communities. This disaggregation of demographic data will help State agencies account for the unique socioeconomic distinctions of a person’s ancestry, leading to improvements in the administration of government programs and better-informed policymaking. AANHPI, MENA, and South Asian and Indian Diaspora communities are vitally important in New Jersey, and nearly one million Asian Americans, Native Hawaiians, and Pacific Islanders reside in the State.

The Legislature concurred with the Governor’s conditional veto of an earlier version of the legislation. The Governor recommended changes to afford State agencies the flexibility to comply with any distinct data collection and reporting practices required by federal laws, regulations, programs, or surveys, and to account for evolving standards and guidance that may be issued by the federal Office of Management and Budget or the United States Census Bureau in the future.

“Language barriers can make it very difficult for New Jersey’s immigrant communities to navigate government programs and access important information, services and worker protections as they make our state their home. The new laws signed by Governor Murphy today will break down these barriers and reinforce New Jersey’s commitment to supporting and building trust with the communities we serve. NJ Human Services is grateful to Governor Murphy and our legislative partners for the doors these new laws will open,” said NJ Human Services’ Office of New Americans Director Johanna Calle.

“I applaud Governor Murphy and the Legislature for once again demonstrating their ongoing commitment to making New Jersey a place of inclusion, where we recognize, respect and protect the rights of all. Bridging language barriers and safeguarding the civil rights of domestic workers are two significant mileposts along this path,” said Attorney General Matthew J. Platkin. “The Domestic Workers’ Bill of Rights remedies a historical legacy of racial prejudice that led to the exclusion of domestic workers from our wage and hour laws. And increasing language access for vital government services will help keep our residents safe, healthy, and properly informed.”

“We are committed to making New Jersey the best state for workers. This law is another step forward to ensure all workers, especially those who can be vulnerable, marginalized or unseen, are afforded our rigorous protections and generous benefits,” said Labor Commissioner Robert Asaro-Angelo.

Jay Edwards

Born and raised in Northwest NJ, Jay has a degree in Communications and has had a life-long interest in local radio and various styles of music. Jay has held numerous jobs over the years such as stunt car driver, bartender, voice-over artist, traffic reporter (award winning), NY Yankee maintenance crewmember and peanut farm worker. His hobbies include mountain climbing, snowmobiling, cooking, performing stand-up comedy and he is an avid squirrel watcher. Jay has been a guest on America’s Morning Headquarters,program on The Weather Channel, and was interviewed by Sam Champion.

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